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When you’re short on money, a personal loan can help you pay for expenses and spread the costs over multiple months or years. But sometimes getting approved for a loan isn’t possible, especially if you’ve got bad credit. In this case, you’ll need to start budgeting and cutting costs to better manage your debt and finances. That’s where a Vanilla prepaid visa comes into the picture. 

The Vanilla Prepaid Visa card is a great financial product you can use to start a budget, track your spending, and keep your finances in line without requiring any credit. Let’s go into a little more detail about this prepaid card and how it can make purchasing and money management easy. 

What Is The Vanilla Prepaid Visa? 

The Vanilla Prepaid Visa is a prepaid gift card that you can use to make purchases with merchants worldwide, either online or in person. Since purchases are not made on credit, the Vanilla Prepaid Visa isn’t technically a credit card. Instead, it’s somewhat like a debit card or a gift card, in that you’re only spending money you have already.

What Is The Difference Between A Prepaid Visa And A Prepaid Mastercard?

The Prepaid Visa and the Prepaid Mastercard work pretty much the same way. They’re both prepaid cards, which means you’re spending money you’ve already loaded onto the card. 

The biggest difference comes down to where each card can be used. Prepaid Visa Cards can be used wherever Visa is accepted, while Prepaid Mastercards can be used anywhere that Mastercard is accepted.

Where Can You Get A Vanilla Prepaid Visa?

You can buy a Vanilla Prepaid Visa at various merchants across Canada, including the following:

  • Walmart
  • 7-Eleven
  • Petro-Canada
  • Shell
  • London Drugs
  • Giant Tiger
  • Best Buy
  • Ultramar
  • Express Mart
  • Corner Store
  • Jean Coutu

How Do You Use A Vanilla Prepaid Visa?

Using your Vanilla Prepaid Visa to make purchases is easy: 

How To Use A Vanilla Prepaid Visa In Person?

  • Present your card at the payment terminal
  • Select “credit” as your form of payment
  • Sign the receipt

Your balance will automatically be reduced by the amount of the purchase, including all applicable taxes. If your card doesn’t have enough funds to cover the full purchase amount, inform the cashier to see if it’s possible to split the transaction. Also, keep in mind that some gas stations may not allow the Vanilla Prepaid Visa to be used at the pump, and instead may have to be used in-store.

How To Use A Vanilla Prepaid Visa Online?

  • When making a purchase online, some merchants will require a postal code as a security measure. So be sure to assign a postal code to your Vanilla prepaid visa before using your card to make online purchases. You can do this by logging in to your account.  
  • When making a purchase, enter your card information at checkout in the credit card fields.
  • Check out to complete the transaction.

How Do You Activate Your Prepaid Card?

Your Vanilla Prepaid Visa will be activated at the time of purchase. As soon as you buy the card, make sure you sign the back and jot down the card number and the customer support phone number for future reference in case the card is lost or stolen. 

How Much Can You Load Onto Your Card?

You can load the following denominations onto your Vanilla Prepaid Visa card:

  • $25
  • $50
  • $75
  • $100
  • $150
  • $200
  • $250
  • $20-$500

How To Check Your Vanilla Prepaid Visa Balance

To check your card balance, visit and enter your card number, expiration date, and CVV number. Or, you can call 1-833-322-6760.

Vanilla Prepaid Visa Card Fees

There are small fees you should be aware of when you buy a Vanilla Prepaid Visa card:

  • Activation fee. At the time of purchase, an activation fee is applied.
  • Foreign exchange fee. All transactions made in a foreign currency are subject to a foreign exchange fee of 2.5%.

Vanilla Prepaid Card Alternatives

The Vanilla Prepaid Visa is just one of several prepaid cards available. Consider other cards and their features before choosing the one that’s right for you:


KOHO offers a prepaid Mastercard that is reloadable and offers cashback rewards with every dollar spent.  The free KOHO Prepaid Mastercard requires no minimum deposit and lets you earn 1% cash back on groceries, bills, and services, and up to 5% cash back with select KOHO partners.

For a fee, you can upgrade to the Premium version, which allows you to earn 2% cash back instead of 1%, and 0.5% cash back on all other purchases. You can also improve your credit score with KOHO’s optional credit-building feature. You’ll also get one free monthly international ATM withdrawal and no foreign exchange fees.


The STACK Prepaid Mastercard is a great choice if you love to travel. You can earn instant cash back rewards in over 150 currencies, on foreign exchange fees, and on ATM withdrawals abroad.

STACK is also great for managing and saving your money. You can use the Financial IQ feature to track your spending and receive instant notifications whenever you spend, receive, or save your money. You can also round up your spending to the nearest $1, $2, $5, or $10 and deposit it into your account to grow your savings. There’s also the option to get paid up to 2 days early by setting up payroll direct load with your STACK account.


The Neo Card™ (Secured), works like other credit cards whereby you spend money on credit and pay your monthly bills. You’re required to make a security deposit which serves as a payment guarantee. 

There are no annual fees, and you’ll have flexibility with credit limits. You’ll earn an average cashback rate of 5% at thousands of Neo partners, as well as up to 15% cash back on your first purchase at select merchants. You can also use Neo Card™ (Secured) to keep tabs on your spending with the Insights dashboard and set up auto-pay so you never miss a bill payment.

Final Thoughts

A credit card makes purchase transactions easy, especially online. But with bad credit, it can be nearly impossible to get approved for one. Thankfully, there are prepaid cards available, like the Vanilla Prepaid Visa, which are easy to get approved for. You can then use the card to make in-store and online purchases like a credit card while earning cash back rewards with every dollar spent.  

Vanilla Prepaid Visa FAQs

How do I activate my Vanilla Prepaid Card?

The retailer will activate the card for you when you first purchase it at the payment terminal.

Can I use my Vanilla prepaid Visa to shop online?

Yes, you can use the Vanilla Prepaid Visa card to make online purchases, as long as the merchant accepts Visa. To shop online, you’ll need to enter your postal code when you check out. 

Can I get cash with my Vanilla prepaid Visa?

No, the Vanilla Prepaid Visa card cannot be used at ATMs to withdraw cash.

If my Vanilla Prepaid Visa card is lost or stolen, how do I get a refund or a replacement card?

If your card is lost or stolen, reach out to customer support right away. Your card will be cancelled and a new one will be reissued.

What happens when my prepaid card expires?

Even if your card expires, any balance available won’t. Reach out to customer care to have a replacement card issued to you.
Lisa Rennie avatar on Loans Canada
Lisa Rennie

Lisa has been working as a personal finance writer for more than a decade, creating unique content that helps to educate Canadian consumers in the realms of real estate, mortgages, investing and financial health. For years, she held her real estate license in Toronto, Ontario before giving it up to pursue writing within this realm and related niches. Lisa is very serious about smart money management and helping others do the same.

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